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Rock and roll word du jour

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Think foulmouthed pop songs don’t stand a chance on the radio? Think again. Meredith Brooks’ ”Bitch” is becoming the sing-along bubblegum anthem of the summer, the feel-good, bad-girl yang to Hanson’s feel-good, good-boy yin. But the success of ”Bitch” shouldn’t come as a surprise: Though pop profanity often prevents radio play, there’s a long tradition of ”bitch”-ing on the charts.

SONG Meredith Brooks’ ”Bitch”
ALBUM Blurring the Edges (1997)
HOW ”BITCH” IS USED People are, like, really complicated and sometimes they get in bad moods.
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’S USED 4
SINGLE’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 2
ALBUM’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 22

SONG Prodigy’s ”Smack My Bitch Up”
ALBUM The Fat of the Land (1997)
HOW ”BITCH” IS USED Who knows? The lyrics, in their entirety, are ”Change my pitch up/Smack my bitch up.”
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’S USED 8
SINGLE’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION Not released as a single, but, hey, with more than twice as many ”bitches” as Brooks’ song, maybe it should be.
ALBUM’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 1

SONG Aerosmith’s ”Ain’t That a Bitch”
ALBUM Nine Lives (1997)
HOW ”BITCH” IS USED ”’Cause love is like the last licks outta Hendrix/Ain’t that a bitch?” Uh, whatever you say, Steven.
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’S USED 7
SINGLE’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION Not a single, but with Nine Lives slipping down the charts, they also should reconsider.
ALBUM’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 1

SONG Elton John’s ”The Bitch Is Back”
ALBUM Caribou (1974) HOW ”BITCH” IS USED Ad nauseam. ”Bitch. Bitch. Bitch is baaack…”
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’S USED 39 (!)
SINGLE’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 4.
ALBUM’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 1.

SONG The Rolling Stones’ ”Bitch”
ALBUM Sticky Fingers (1971)
HOW ”BITCH” IS USED ”Love is a bitch” just about says it all
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’S USED Surprisingly, only twice
SINGLE’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION Not released as a single
ALBUM’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION No. 1

SONG David Bowie’s ”Queen Bitch” ALBUM Hunky Dory (1972)
HOW ”BITCH” IS USED Jealous angst over a woman who’s, well, a bitch.
NUMBER OF TIMES IT’S USED 0
SINGLE’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION Didn’t chart
ALBUM’S HIGHEST CHART POSITION This classic peaked at a dismal No. 176. Probably should have said ”bitch” at least once.

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